Monday, February 1, 2010

Vice President Schuyler Colfax and Others

In 2007 I wrote an article for the Stoutenburgh-Teller Family Association Newsletter about various descendants of Anneke Jans, Pieter Stoutenburg and Willem Teller. The people in my article range from the famous, not so famous and infamous. Back in those days, it wasn't surprising that there was much intermarriage. Willem Teller was the great-great-great grandfather of Robert Bogardus, a general in the War of 1812. Robert’s great-great-great grandmother was Anneke Jans. Willem Teller’s daughter Helena married Anneke Jan’s son from her second marriage Cornelis Bogardus.
Willem Teller’s daughter Jannetje married Arent Schuyler. She died in New York City in 1700 after which Arent moved his family to Pompton Plains, NJ where he discovered copper. The mine made him very wealthy.
Arent and Jannetje’s great-great grand-daughter Hester Schuyler married General William Colfax. Hester’s son Schuyler Colfax fell on hard times and died of tuberculosis in 1822 leaving a pregnant wife, Hester Stryker. Her son Schuyler Colfax, Jr. was born 4 months later on March 23, 1823 in New York City.
When Schuyler was ten, he left school to work while his mother ran a boarding house. In 1836, she remarried and the family moved to New Carlisle, IN where his step-father George Matthews opened a store. Schuyler worked as a clerk for his stepfather. Like Abraham Lincoln, Schuyler had little formal education so was self-taught. He read everything he could get or borrow.
Schuyler became a legislative correspondent for the Indiana State Journal and purchased an interest in the South Bend Free Press. He was then elected to Congress and served from 1855 to 1869. He was Speaker of the House in the last three years. Schuyler was elected Vice President under Ulysses S. Grant on the Republican ticket. He served from March 4, 1869 to March 3, 1873.
Schuyler died January 13, 1885 at a train station in Mankato, MN. He had walked three quarters of a mile to the station but the temperature was 30 degrees below zero. Five minutes later he died of heart failure.
Another relative did not have a chance to make his mark in the world. Martin Ringo, Pieter Stoutenburg’s great-great-great-great grandson, accidentally shot himself to death on July 30, 1864 near Glenrock, WY. He was 43 years old and suffering from tuberculosis. It is believed that the family was moving to California where his wife’s sister and her family lived in hopes of his recuperating.
His grave marker is at the site, one of the few found along the Oregon-California trail. Mary Peters Ringo’s journal was published in “Covered Wagon Women” Vol. 9, edited by Kenneth L. Holmes. It was heart wrenching to read her account of his death and her struggle to get her young children to California. She was pregnant at the time of Martin’s death and subsequently miscarried in Nevada.
The information on Schuyler Colfax was taken from the "Life of Schuyler Colfax" by O. J. Hollister.

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